2009 Ronstan Bay Challenge

40 Formula Windsurfing and kite boarders took to Saturday's long distance marathon, charging downwind in the 3k flood tide to round the Berkeley pier and back to a finish in front of the St. Francis. This year, the formula boards held the record with East Bay local Ben Bamer blazing the course in 1 hour, and sixteen minutes.

The top kiter, Sean Farley, finished 10 minutes back. For those not lucky enough to survive Point Blunts raging winds and current, there was a safety boat collecting sailors, their broken equipment and lost dreams!

Sunday's windward leeward course, set along the city front had the formula boards racing in the morning light and shifty breeze.

Those sailors smart enough to have the 11.0m2 rigs on the water got around the course the fastest. Finally by mid afternoon, the wind pumped up to 20-25 with the boards and kites taking the course for 2 more exciting races.

The two fleets continue to merge and kite board designs are becoming more and more similar to the Formula Class design.

With the 1st World Course Racing Championship in San Francisco next month, the kite fleet is really pushing the envelope.

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2009 PWA Gran Canaria

Antoine Albeau (JP/NeilPryde) has demonstrated that he is currently the best slalom racer in the world with another amazing performance at Pozo Izquierdo. With only one more race to go, Albeau will take the crown, but the remaining positions remain too tight to call.

The grey, cloudy skies that hung over Gran Canaria today bought with them the strongest winds that we have seen so far. At times pushing 50 knots, both slalom and wave fleets had to compete under immense pressure, as Pozo lived up to all expectations.


The men’s slalom was a furious battle to decide the top five positions. The ocean seemed to take on a new form with the wind blown whitecaps creating an illusion of smoke on the water.  Antoine Albeau (JP/NeilPryde) looked solid early on, winning the first round after a nail biting battle with Robby Swift (JP/NeilPryde). Swift was outstanding in his speed and starts today, leading the first final from the outset, but the physical strain after thirteen rounds took its toll, and Swift lost his position after a tired final gybe.

Peter Volwater (F2/MauiSails) had an excellent day, winning the second final, and finishing runner up in the first. Volwater has proven that he is one of the fastest and most consistent sailors in the slalom fleet, and has moved up to a well-deserved fifth place overall.

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2009 PWA Gran Canaria

Antoine Albeau (JP/NeilPryde) has extended his strong lead over the fleet after another epic day of racing in Gran Canaria. Micah Buzianis (JP/NeilPryde) and Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard/Severne) were the men of the moment, winning today’s finals, whilst Ross Williams (Tabou/Gaastra) is forced down the ranks.

The 20-knot wind was a welcome sight to the sailors after a week of gale-force racing. The slight drop in intensity meant that the competitors could sail comfortably on their preferred gear. The course layout remained the same, and the stage was set for an entertaining day on the water.

The great Antoine Albeau (JP/NeilPryde) has done enough today to hold his position at the top of the results ladder, and with only three races remaining, it seems like he already has one hand on this year’s title. After sailing consistently throughout the event, he has moved even further ahead, and will be confident as the contest enters the last two days.

The battle for the podium has really heated up, with mixed results from all of the key players. Ross Williams (Tabou/Gaastra) suffered yet another heartbreak, as he was pushed out of the winner’s final in a controversial turning point.

Ben Van der Steen (Exocet/Simmer) sailed in the wrong heat, and Williams felt that the Dutchman had pushed him off the start line. The PWA rules state the heat couldn’t be re-run, and Williams had to accept his position in the loser’s final, moving him to fifth overall.

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